SPEECH BY THE MANAGING DIRECTOR MRS. CATHERINE MTURI-WAIRI DURING THE COMMISSIONING OF THE CRUISE TERMINAL ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 16, 2016
- Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Tourism Hon. Najib Balala, EGH,
- Principal Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed,
- Director General TMEA, Mr. David Stanton,
- KPA Board of Directors,
- My Colleagues,
- Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to be here with you today to witness the launch of the construction of the first ever cruise terminal in the Eastern Africa region. This is indeed a significant milestone for the Port of Mombasa and for our country Kenya. For us and the tourism sector this is the perfect Christmas gift.
Let me give you a brief background of the facility. Shed Nos.1 and 2 were constructed in 1926 thirty years after the first jetty at Kilindini port was established in 1896, to be used mainly for the discharge of materials for the construction of the railway from Kenya to Uganda.
Pauty's and Company Ltd of the UK built this building. It has a floor area of 49,533 square feet. It cost £86,177 a lot of money in those days. However, the value attached to it by environmentalists, architects and conservationists is many times higher, thus the need to modernize and not demolish it. It has an intrinsic value because of its age.
Bwana Cabinet Secretary,
The launch of the development of this cruise terminal comes at a time when the Port is getting back on the international cruise itinerary as witnessed by the increased number of cruise vessel calls in the last two years. Last season we received ten vessels with over 6,000 tourists. The one day cruise tourists visited our national parks, game reserves, had city tours and sampled our rich cultural heritage and various tourist attraction sites.
This season we have received two vessels and more are expected.
A survey carried out in 2015 by Tourism and Transport Consult International on cruise tourist potential for Kenya, predicted that Mombasa could easily attract 140,000 passengers per year, further justifying this investment. Worldwide the industry boasts of 12 million tourists annually.
Importance of Cruise Tourism
It is important to note that a cruise passenger on average spends $1,319 per week on vacation, whereas a normal tourist spends $721. On the basis of the 140,000 cruise tourists that may be received in the port, and assuming that they spend two days in our port, the annual income that would be generated for Mombasa by the cruisers would approximately be USD 52.76 million per year.
Water Front Developments
Mombasa being a port city is affected by new trends of doing business like all other such cities. Some of the changes affecting port cities include; redevelopment of old underutilized/disused docks due to pressure on land, expansion and growth of containerization. Such recreation may entail development of office complexes, residential houses, shopping malls, free ports, cruise passenger terminals and business and industrial centers. The development of this terminal will substantially complement growth of business in the city of Mombasa as it will, among other things, create an environment for twining business with tourist interests.
The redevelopment of the water-front calls for more services, infra-structural amenities, utilities including refuse collection, security, inter-modal connectivity (sea-air-road and rail), travel agency and tour operators' services. Provision of such incidental amenities and services translates into more business, employment and incomes.
We at Kenya Ports Authority recognize this significant contribution of the tourism sector to the economy. It is for this reason that we are very keen on improving our port in this area to attract more passenger vessels and fully exploit the great potential that exists in our Blue Economy.
Honourable Cabinet Secretary,
I am sure you have witnessed our organized reception for the cruise ships that call our port. This organization and efficient facilitation of the tourists, even without a proper cruise terminal, has enabled us receive coveted awards twice in the last two years. Last year in June, the World Travel Awards voted the Port of Mombasa as Africa's best cruise port.
The development of the cruise terminal will offer a range of facilities including a lounge area for passengers, reception counters for cruise operators, restaurants, souvenir shops and other amenities. This ultra-modern facility will give our visitors the opportunity to relax upon arrival and before departure.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ten years ago, our port attracted over 40,000 cruise tourists per year. Upon completion of this terminal, we expect the numbers to grow significantly since security in the region has greatly improved. Similarly, we have ensured maximum security in the port by installing world class security systems and apparatus.
Bwana Cabinet Secretary,
The Port of Mombasa is a member of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association (CIOA) which brings together ports and tourism organizations along the Indian Ocean Rim to market the region as a major world cruise destination. Towards this end we will intensify our marketing efforts as a port and encourage other ports under the CIOA to improve their facilities so that the region can present an attractive cruise circuit.
At this juncture may I now invite our development partners TMEA to give their remarks.